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Relationships between tango, milonga and waltz

Enjoy
Garrit


Date:    Thu, 7 Nov 1996 11:32:23 -0800
From:    Christine Denniston (through Polo Talnir)


>While the Vals followed an independent path, "joining"
>the Tango with its appearance, the milonga did not "join" the
>Tango, but rather "gave birth" to it ... There is little argument
>today among the erudites about the Milonga being a fundamental part
>of the Tango ancestry. It's mother, indeed.

Erm....  Actually....
I spend a lot of time at the Academia Nacional de Tango here in Buenos Aires
-- about as erudite as you can get on the subject -- and that's not quite
the whole story.

First of all, waltz is a very important parent of the tango.  Waltz caused
scandal because of the nature of its hold.  Couple dancing had never been
done in the "hug" position before, and that hold (in a modified form) is
fundamental to the tango.  Tango, they say, appeared first as a manner of
dancing to any sort of music, and then as the criollo cocktail of music it
was danced to.  So in being one of the most fundamental influences on the
dance, waltz also had an indirect impact on the music.

Secondly: Milonga.
Now, there's a thing.
There are two distinct musical genres, both of which are called milonga.
There is the milonga as part of the tango trinity as we know it, and there
is the milonga campera or milonga surena, an Argentinian folk music form,
often performed just by a singer with a guitar, and of very clear hispanic
influence.

The milonga campera was very popular in Buenos Aires in the nineteenth
century and the early part of this one.  People would go to listen to
milongas and other folk music, and to dance folk dances, and the places
where this was done came to be known as "milongas".  This became extended to
all places where dancing was done, hence the usage, still current today, of
"milonga" as a place where all three forms of the tango, plus usually jazz
and tropical, are danced.

According to a number of full academicians at the Academia Nacional del
Tango that I have spoken to on this subject, the milonga as we know it, as
part of the tango trinity, was invented in 1932 by Sebastian Piana (who you
mentioned in the context of vals) and Homero Manzi -- the first ever milonga
being their "Milonga Sentimental".  A simple test of this theory is to look
through your own record collection and see if you can find a recording of a
milonga as we know it from the early 30s or the 20s.

The early tango-milongas -- those recorded by Juan "Pacho" Maglio, for
example -- as I understand it (though I think I may be on thinner ice here),
were called that to distinguish them from tango cancio'n, that is, as
tangos for dancing (at a milonga) rather than singing.  I need to do some
more research on that subject.

Incidentally, Piana and Manzi went on in 1940 to invent the candombe as we
know it -- that is, as a kind of kid brother of the milonga, completely
distinct from the Uruguayan candombe, a music form and dance created by the
black population of the River Plate area.  The snatches of Uruguayan
candombe I've heard really are very diferent from the (tango) candombes that
I knew before I came here.

I'm not on the TANGO-l list -- I use an e-mail payphone at the moment so
it's not very practical.  But I like to hear from people.

Hope this was interesting.

love

Christine Denniston (Cristina La Inglesa)

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Date:    Tue, 12 Nov 1996 12:15:04 -0400
From:    Alberto Epstein


Hi everyone,

        Concerning the relationships between tango, milonga and waltz,
Cristina la Inglesa wrote:


        According to a number of full academicians at the Academia Nacional del
Tango that I have spoken to on this subject, the milonga as we know it, as
part of the tango trinity, was invented in 1932 by Sebastian Piana (who you
mentioned in the context of vals) and Homero Manzi -- the first ever milonga
being their "Milonga Sentimental".  A simple test of this theory is to look
through your own record collection and see if you can find a recording of a
milonga as we know it from the early 30s or the 20s.

This is my answer:

        The hypotesis is interesting because it is provocative and it is
true that H. Salas in El Tango, writes that there was a revival (but not a
birth) of milongas thanks to Piana and Manzi. So, I looked to my own record
collection. It is true that I have not found any urban milonga before the
thirties, but I have only a few records from that period. However in many
CD from the 30' or later, you will find one typical and beautiful milonga,
called El esquinazo, which has been written by Angel Villoldo. Now,
Villoldo died in 1919, so I suppose he wrote the milonga before.
        However, it is possible that Villoldo wrote El esquinazo as a tango
and that other people later transformed this tango into a milonga. This is
apparently the case with La puqalada, a former tango composed by P.
Castellanos that was converted later into a milonga.

        Saludos milongueros,

        Alberto, from Lyon (France)


ALBERTO EPSTEIN

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Date:    Tue, 12 Nov 1996 15:52:39 +0100
From:    Christian Mensing

Alberto Epstein answered to Cristina la Inglesa who wrote:

>         According to a number of full academicians at the Academia Nacional
 del
> Tango that I have spoken to on this subject, the milonga as we know it, as
> part of the tango trinity, was invented in 1932 by Sebastian Piana (who you
> mentioned in the context of vals) and Homero Manzi -- the first ever milonga
> being their "Milonga Sentimental".  A simple test of this theory is to look
> through your own record collection and see if you can find a recording of a
> milonga as we know it from the early 30s or the 20s.
>
This is my answer:



Some historical aspects to be considered:

The Milonga in fact was originally a creation of the "troperos",
imagine cow hunters, at the second half of the XVIII th century as an imitation
of drums of the music of the black population. The beat was realized by
the guitar, the transportable instrument used by the troperos, a mixture
of spanish, indian and black people, let's say gauchos. This was strongly
influenced by the local cifra and the spanish tonadilla.
The music of the black population, mainly slaves occupied as household
personel and soldiers, in the beginning was based on their religion, but
because of the prohibition soon practized only in the underground. They
where allowed to play outside the cities, Buenos Aires and specially
Montevideo (Real Cedula del 31 de mayo de 1789) on certain days of the
year but only related to the official religion. So the bantu origin was
soon lost. The negro music was called in those days: calenda, bambula, tango,
(tango: a drum), semba or samba (zamba: the big drum) and candombe.

The general civil procurator asks the Cabildo de Buenos Aires in september 1788
to prohibit the black dances:

cit: "... de la Religion, de el Estado y del Publico, pues resulta
perjudicialisimo que se haya permitido de algunos annos a esta parte el que la
multitud de Negros libres y Esclavos que hay en esta ciudad se les permita
juntarse a hazer sus *tambos* y bailes a los extramuros de ella en
contravencion de las Leyes Divinas y humanas... y espera que El excelentisimo
Senor Virrey prohivara absolutamente semejante relajacion" - end cit.

In Montevideo the governor Elio proclaimed the prohibition in 1806 but whithout
success. In 1816, national government yet, a new prohibition was proclaimed
by the Cabildo de Montevideo:

cit: "Se prohiben dentro de la Ciudad los bayles conocidos por el nombre de
*Tangos* y solo se permiten a extramuros en las tardes de los dias de fiesta,
hasta puesto el sol..." - end cit.

(This term tango has nothing to do whith the later tango of 1880)

After the total independence of La Republica Oriental in 1830, the music of
the black was only called *candombe*. Then no original ritual significance was
left. But the candombe we know today crystallized in the 70th of the last
century, the time after the "pacificacion" after the civil wars. It was also
the time when an own identity of the people was born: new civil rights,
regulated ownership of the country, transport (train, telegraph), road
pavement, urbanization, technification. The until then social and cultural
reference of Paris was given up step by step. An own society was born.

>From a chronicle "La Provincia de Buenos Aires hasta la definicion
de la cuestion Capital de la Republica" by Ventura R. Lynch in 1883
we know what the milonga was at that time:

cit: "El malambo no se canta; la milonga solo la bailan los compadritos de la
ciudad, quienes la han creado como una burla a los bailes que dan los negros
en sus sitios. Lleva el mismo movimiento de los tamboriles de los candombes.

La milonga se parece mucho al cantar por cifra, con la diferencia que el
cantar por cifra es propio del gaucho payador y a la milonga le rinden culto
solo el compadraje de la ciudad y campa~na." - end cit.

- not knowing the yet old tradition of the milonga payada (of the gauchos),
but it is a testimony of the urban milonga.

Here some milongas of Ventura's time:

Se~nor comisario  - milonga or habanera, 1880
Milonga de Tancredi, 1882
La Milonga - Francisco Arturo Hargreaves, 1885-86
Pejerrey con papas - milonga, 1886
La Estrella - milonga, Antonio Domingo Podesta, 1889
Milonga - music: Andres Abad, lyrics: Nemesio Trejo, 1891
Milonga 1, 2 & 3 - Francisco Arturo Hargreaves
La Antigua - milonga
Cara pelada - milonga
La Canaria de Canelones - milonga

Those without composer indicated are anonymous, tipical in those times, since
the autors wanted to prevent bad reputation.

El Choclo by Villoldo is a tango-milonga in the original version and was the
first ever recorded tango (Paris 1903 with the band of the fire brigade).

All musical forms are permanently reformed otherwise they will die. So Piana
did not invent the milonga but introduced new aspects. Canaro did not invent
the milongon (some mixture of candombe and milonga). Milongon was one
denomination of the music of the black population yet at the beginning of the
XIX th century. The same you can say for a candombe invented in 1940...

The waltz came through the heavy cafes of the ports of the world at the
beginning of the XIX th century. Then the polka, schottish and waltz was
popular in all those places.

I'm hearing...

Christian Mensing

http://davinci.ethz.ch/group/mensing

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Date:    Tue, 12 Nov 1996 18:51:45 +0100
From:    Christian Mensing
Subject: milonga references

Hi tangueros,

I was asked for some references related to my posting on milonga. I urge you
to use original references if possible, since many fantastic publications
appeared in Europe and elsewhere due to the lack of knowledge and which are
re-re-re-referenced. Few of them are based on documents or primary information.

I think following (among many others) is well based:

- Antologia del Tango Rioplatense,
      Instituto Nacional de Musicologia "Carlos Vega", Bs. As. 1980

- Asi nacieron los Tangos,
      Francisco Garcia Jimenez, Ed. Losada, Buenos Aires, 1965

- Cosas de Negros,
      Vicente Rossi, Ed. Hachette, Colecc. El Pardo Argentino, Bs. As. 1958

- El Libro del Tango, Cronica y diccionario 1850 - 1977
      Horacio Ferrer, Ed. Galerna, Bs. As. 1977

- El Tango y sus circunstancias,
      Fernando O. Assuncao, Ed. El Ateneo, Bs. As. 1984

- Formas musicales rioplatenses (su origen hispanico)
      J. T. Wilkes & Guerrero Carpena, Estudios Hispanicos, Bs. As. 1946

- Historia del Tango, 3 Vol.
      Ed. Corregidor, Bs. As. 1976 - 77

- La Musica en el Uruguay,
      Lauro Ayestaran, SODRE, Montevideo 1953

- Negros libres rioplatenses en Buenos Aires,
      Ricardo Rodriguez Molas,
      Revista de Humanidades, Ministerio de Educacion de la Provincia,
      A~no 1, No 1, Sept. 1961


greetings

Christian Mensing

http://davinci.ethz.ch/group/mensing
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Garrit Fleischmann 12.Nov.96
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com